Monday, August 9, 2010

Espresso Tales

I finished Espresso Tales on the way to LA nearly two weeks ago but haven't had a chance to write about it! Oddly enough, I read Alexander McCall Smith's first book in this series, 44 Scotland Street, on a plane as well. They are good for plane rides since the chapters are so short it's easy to find a stopping place for all the frequent interruptions you experience while traveling.

McCall Smith's books all have a cozy feel to them. I sort of just want to hug them. The characters are all so wonderfully flawed and real. Although the coziness is broken by Bertie's evil mother, who I would take delight in torturing. I don't know how you can read about her without feeling the need to slap her on the back of her head. Fortunately Bertie's dad is beginning to stand up for himself, so perhaps the next book will feature her having to cave in on some things.

What's so awful about her? She has these firm beliefs in the fabrication of gender differences and so dresses Bertie in pink pants instead of jeans and paints his room pink. He goes to school for kids with crazy parents who name their kids things like Tofu. He's not allowed to do anything fun. Instead he learns Italian, takes yoga, learns music. He's six. Six! I'm all for focusing on education but wow she doesn't let him have any fun. And he can't go to a birthday party because it's at a bowling alley! Crazy.

And what's craziest of all? She takes Bertie to therapy. Where she and the doctor flirt and can't understand Bertie's problems. Because they all stem from his crazy mother and neither of them want to see that! It's all written so cleverly and is so funny though.

McCall Smith also just pokes in little asides on life and politics and consumerism and people in general that are hilarious. That's what I like most about the books, probably. I can't wait to check out the next one and I hope you all do too if you haven't read him before.

I need a little light-hearted reading right now - any suggestions of other funny books to read?


  1. Well, I just started Love Over Scotland, which is a continuation of Espresso Tales. I'm hooked on these people and can't seem to get enough. Well, I admit, I've had enough of Ramsey Dunbarton!

    BTW, Bertie's dunagrees aren't pink...they're "crushed strawberry" :)

    Glad to find a fellow fan of 44 Scotland Street series.

  2. True! I started to change that but was in a hurry writing on my lunch break and clearly didn't go back and do that!